Turnover grew from £377.4m last year to £575m, as combined new and used car sales accelerated to a record 63,999 - returning pre-tax profits up 28.9% at £14.2m (1995: £11.02m). The new Motor Zone used car supermarkets accounted for much of the growth but an enthusiastic Peter Vardy, group chairman, said new car sales increased by 40% as the retail market started to recover.
Announcing a 1 for 5 rights issue which will net the group almost £30 million for planned expansion, Vardy said he wanted to extend the current network of 41 outlets to 60 within three years. Vardy, who has seen his network double over the last four years, said future growth would be facilitated by the manufacturers' moves towards establishing larger territories in a bid to protect dealer profitability. Additionally, Vardy said a new dealer-based contract hire division would focus on selling into the small business sector and ultimately capitalise on the predicted growth in personal leasing schemes.